Duncan Hunter is going to prison... probably

For some time now, when the name “Hunter” popped up in the news we generally expected to see it followed by “Biden.” But there’s still another Hunter out there with a story waiting to be told. That would be former California Congressman Duncan Hunter (R) who pleaded guilty last year to a variety of campaign finance abuse charges along with his wife. His sentencing date finally rolled around yesterday and he received what some observers will probably find to be a rather light punishment. While prosecutors had been seeking a five-year term, the judge wound up giving the disgraced Congressman eleven months behind bars and three years of probation. (NBC News)

Former Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., was sentenced to 11 months in prison Tuesday for misusing campaign funds.

Hunter pleaded guilty in December to a corruption charge after prosecutors said he and his wife “converted and stole” more than a quarter million dollars in campaign funds for their own use over a period of several years…

Hunter faced up to five years in prison. His 11-month sentence includes three years of probation. His wife, Margaret, pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to misuse campaign funds and was expected to testify against her husband of more than 20 years if the case went to trial.

Hunter’s attorneys will no doubt attempt some sort of wrangling to see if they can keep their client out of prison. One of the more novel approaches would be to argue that the coronavirus pandemic makes the crowded prisons too dangerous so he should be allowed to serve his time in home confinement. (He wouldn’t be the first to attempt it. Michael Cohen tried the same thing.) I somehow doubt the judge would look too kindly on that request, however. Let’s face it… half of the country is serving home confinement at this point and Hunter’s home doesn’t exactly paint a picture of austerity.

We shouldn’t be engaging in any sort of partisan bickering here, trying to make excuses for this guy or arguing for a lighter sentence. He’s removed any doubt about his guilt at this point and the state stacked up a compelling mountain of evidence against him. The Hunters funneled a massive amount of campaign cash away from his donors for their own personal benefit. His excuses about vacations to Italy and Hawaii and tuition for his children’s schooling somehow being legitimate campaign expenses fell on deaf ears as they should have.

Also, he didn’t exactly cover himself in glory when he tried to blame the entire thing on his wife, even though she was involved in handling the campaign’s finances at one point. That’s probably why she wound up pleading guilty and agreeing to testify against him. Not a smart move, sir.

Duncan Hunter should probably count himself lucky to have only gotten eleven months. With good behavior, he may only wind up doing six or seven months. Also, he almost certainly won’t be going to any sort of supermax penitentiary and he’ll doubtless receive celebrity isolation for his own protection while on the inside. At 43 years of age, he’s got plenty of life ahead of him after he gets out and I’d be willing to bet that he still has enough friends in political circles that he’ll land on his feet somewhere after his release.

All in all, I’d say Hunter has very little to complain about. And based on his own confession as provided to the court, he brought this all on himself.